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Disability Benefits

There are certain life events we plan for even though we hope they never happen.

Don’t Miss Out on Your Benefits by Failing to Investigate

These unplanned life events can range from a disabling event from an unforeseen medical condition to injuries from a motor vehicle accident or a defective product. We normally plan for the unthinkable by purchasing insurance to serve as a safety net in our family’s time of need. Disability insurance is crucial to that safety net because it replaces the lost income resulting from you being out of work. Your bills do not stop when you get injured.

According to the Pew Research Center, approximately half of Alabamians obtain their insurance through their employer’s benefit plans. Many Alabamians also purchase individual insurance products, like an Individual Disability Income insurance policy. Combined, your work and personal insurance policies constitute your family’s safety net. 

The first and most important step when trying to pick up the pieces after a life-altering event is to consult with an attorney who can identify both the obvious claims (a car crash, an illness, a defective product) and how your claim affects your safety net insurance products.

We handle cases involving disability insurance for both ERISA (employer-provided) and non-ERISA (private policies) claims. The difference between these two broad categories of claims is quite substantial, and each claim is unique. Non-ERISA claims are subject to different laws in each state, so it is important to seek legal help regardless. Even determining whether ERISA applies to a claim can be difficult in many cases, and insurers routinely take advantage of this uncertainty.

Disability Insurance Claims

Disability insurance provides a vital safety net for you and your family. You were smart enough to plan for the unexpected by purchasing disability insurance. That you paid premiums for the policy from your own account or through payroll deduction at your job should not matter when it comes time to file your claim. Sadly, as we will explain, it does matter.

If you paid premiums on your disability policy through payroll deduction or purchased your disability insurance through your employer’s group disability policy, your claim may be governed by a little-known federal law: The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 or “ERISA.” If ERISA applies to your claim, it is not a good thing. ERISA was originally designed to protect employee benefits; however, over the course of over 40 years, ERISA has become the law that protects insurance companies from having to pay a valid disability claim.

If you purchased your disability insurance outside the workplace and paid the premiums directly from your own account, your claim would likely be governed by state law, which can provide a great benefit to you as you will soon see. When we talk about state law claims for disability benefits, we typically use the phrase “Bad Faith Claims” which is how lawyers and courts reference the various state laws governing the wrongful denial of disability benefits. State law claims for disability benefits typically require an experienced attorney to get you what you should have been paid.

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